Nope Review

A Thrilling Horror Hattrick For Peele

By Liselotte Vanophem

When writer/director Jordan Peele released “Get Out” in 2017, he took the horror world by storm and made it his own. With this debut film, he showed us what a great filmmaker he and a staggering actor Daniel Kaluuya are. His “ Us “ might not have reached that same level, but it was still praised for the incredible performance of Lupita Nyong’o (“Little Monsters”, “12 Years a Slave”).

Peele is now returning to the big screen with his third out-of-this-world horror feature. Returning with him are Daniel Kaluuya and a script that will make your head spin. In addition, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun are joining the Peele gang. So will this be a horror-hattrick for the American director or not?

After their father, Otis Haywood, Sr. (Keith David), dies under mysterious circumstances, Otis “OJ” Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emmy (Keke Palmer) inherit his Haywood Hollywood Ranch. They’re continuing with the family tradition, maintaining the ranch day-in, day-out and training their horses for film, television and commercial shoots.

OJ is mainly committed to this, while his sister has other ambitions. One of their most famous clients is former child star Jupe (Steven Yeun), who has the Wild West-themed amusement park nearby. While this all sounds straightforward, it soon turns out that nothing is what it seems.

You get to know more about the dark past of Jupe, and when a UFO starts to hover over the ranch, things turn sinister. Horses and people disappearing, blood and random objects falling from the sky and unexplainable events happening. OJ and Emmy decide to document the UFO sightings, and when they get help from tech expert Angel (Brandon Perea), it becomes a battle between extra-terrestrial entities and humans. Who will win?

While “Nope” is only out in U.K. cinemas from today, it already ruled the box office during the last few weeks as it was released in the U.S. on the 22nd of July. Many of us feared spoilers and way too many teasers, but luckily for us, they never came. Instead, the few trailers and the poster of the main characters looking up to the sky created the perfect buzz. They didn’t give away too many details but did, however, provide us with the necessary suspense and hype-up vibe-a top-notch strategy for an equally excellent film.

In “Nope”, Kaluuya (“Get Out”, “Widows”) proves again that he can carry a movie with such incredible charisma, commanding presence, tons of emotions and very witty humour. Palmer (“Hustlers”, “Alice”) also delivers a fantastic performance. Her impeccable comedic timing, the beautiful emotions and the fierceness she brings are totally on point. If you add impressive supporting roles from Yeun (“Minari”, “ Okja “) and Perea (“Dance Camp”, “The Volunteers”), who each add their personality and magnetism to the screen, you get a highly entertaining movie.

Just like in his previous film, Peele combines sci-fi elements with human aspects, and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (“ Tenet”, “ Dunkirk “) knows like no one else how to bring that duality perfectly to life. When the supernatural threat looms over the ranch, the atmosphere becomes more mysterious, uneasy and darker.

However, when the danger is temporarily gone, Van Hoytema focuses much more on the lead characters, their emotions and their plan. Therefore this movie feels highly personal and realistic but also mysterious and sinister. When those aspects are combined in vividly terrifying moments, then that’s when “Nope” shines.

The magnificent usage of the canyons outside Los Angeles makes this cinematography even more breathtaking. Van Hoytema and Peele certainly have an eye for capturing all the aspects of the chosen location. Filmed with IMAX cameras, the isolated, shadowy and intriguing elements of the Haywood farm feel extremely real. What heightens that remote and unnerving atmosphere is the incredible score from composer Michael Abels (“Us”, “Bad Education”), who again delivers a genre-defying and what should be an award-winning score!

The only slight off-point aspect of “Nope” is the beginning of the movie. Apart from one or two shocking moments, the start feels more like a drama than a horror film. However, once you’re past that slow start, the movie becomes exactly what you expect from it-a stunningly shot dark film filled with astonishing acting performances, a gripping storyline and masterful cinematography. We recommend not looking up at the sky but looking up at the biggest screen possible.

“Nope” is out in U.K. cinemas from today.

Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com.

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